Tracey Iliffe is choreographer and one of the creative team behind Thursford Christmas Spectacular, Europe’s largest and most lavish Christmas show as it returns for its most ambitious and extravagant show to date.
Set in the midst of the world’s largest collection of steam engines, mechanical organs and fairground rides, Thursford’s opulent Christmas spectacular is performed by a cast of 130 professional performers, many of whom have come directly from the West End in this three-hour show-stopping bonanza featuring a wide range of music, dance and comedy, with many more surprises along the way.
Following a hiatus last year due to Covid. Running for seven weeks only from 9 November – 23 December, tickets can be purchased here: https://www.thursford.com/
Thursford Christmas Spectacular is returning this year, what can you tell us about the show?
Every year, the show is completely new but this year more than ever, it feels so special!!! We have some incredible new large scale production numbers and the cast have brought so much positive energy to every one of them. We have beautiful poignant moments, jaw dropping spectacle and the finest musical theatre numbers outside of the West End.
Why do you think this show in a small Norfolk village is so popular and attracts audiences from far and wide?
We strive to produce entertainment that really strikes a chords with our audiences. We want them to feel that they are part of something really special and take home life long memories. Every single person involved in creating the show gives it 110% and I think this really shows in the final product and the performances we give.
How did you first become involved in Thursford Christmas Spectacular and what does it mean to you to be a part of it?
I came for an interview for the role of choreographer some years ago and from the second I saw the show and the theatre I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.
It means a huge amount to be able to contribute to the overall creation of the show. From having a small say in the content, to creating every step of the choreography, to building a company spirit and backstage ethos of mutual respect between all the different cast members. I consider myself incredibly lucky to work with a cast of this size and calibre.
What acts are you particularly looking forward to seeing this year?
I’m very excited for our 2 large scale musical theatre production numbers this year. They are HUGE!!!! We are also doing an original piece with the dancers that I have never seen anyone else attempt anywhere.
The first time we hear the singers and orchestra together is also an incredibly emotional moment.
How is Thursford Christmas Spectacular supporting people back into work this year?
It’s still a very tricky time to attempt to stage such a large scale production and Thursford have worked very hard to put the safety and welfare of their cast at the absolute forefront of everything we do. It’s amazing to see all the talent returning to the work they love after being forced to spend time outside of our industry.
What’s the biggest challenge for you as a choreographer with this show?
By far the biggest challenge, but also the greatest reward is the size of the cast I get to choreograph. I don’t know anywhere else where you could stage a 5 minute song and dance number with 66 people onstage. And 66 people who are at the top of their industry!!! The logistics are terrifying but the end result is breath-taking!!
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to Thursford Christmas Spectacular?
The show will give you the Christmas lift we’ve all been waiting for. It has heart, joy and laughter in equal measure and will leave you feeling uplifted. You will make memories that will live with you forever and make you want to come back year after year (which most of our audience do).